Download Report from Power BI Service to Desktop

I love to celebrate successes with the Microsoft Power BI team, but I am also not shy in shouting out when I am disappointed.  Back on 25th Nov 2016 I blogged about the then new “Save PBIX from Power BI Service”.  At the time I was disappointed in the way it worked because it didn’t really add any value that I could see.  But that now seems to have all changed.  Today I was delivering a training course and we looked at the “Download Report (Preview)” feature.  I am very wary about telling training participants definitively how PowerBI.com because it often get caught out.  The way it worked last week is different to this week.  So I said cautiously “This feature wasn’t very good last time I looked – but lets see if it works now”.

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I was very excited to discover that download report now works as I would expect.

Here is the Scenario that now Works

Create a desktop PBIX and upload it to the service, then make changes to (or add a new) a report, then download the changes back to the desktop.  Changes that you make in Power BI Service in the cloud can be downloaded (and hence backed up) to a PBIX file on your desktop.  You are no longer locked into a scenario where you must author all reports in Power BI Desktop to maintain a backup.  This new feature allows you to share your reports with others using a group workspace to co-author a report together, and then download a PBIX version of the report with all the new reports back to the desktop.

To test this out, I uploaded a PBIX file to PowerBI.com and then added a new report tab (shown below). I added a new custom visual (shown below) to the PowerBI.com service to give it a good work out – I wondered if this would be downloaded.

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I then downloaded the PBIX to my desktop using download report and opened it in Power BI Desktop.  I was pleased and excited to find the desktop version was identical to the one in the cloud, including the Word Cloud custom visual.

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It is worth pointing out a few things that still don’t work

  • The Dashboards are not included in the PBIX.
  • You must upload a PBIX with a current version of Power BI Desktop for this feature to work. So if your PBIX file hasn’t been updated in the cloud for a while then now is the time to refresh it.
  • it doesn’t work for cloud created data sets, only with pbix files first created on the desktop.

Good job Microsoft.  I hope to see these other features added soon

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Comments

  1. Great blog post Matt. I recently attended a meet up prior to Microsoft Ignite where Charles Sterling did a presentation. And Charles did mention that any PBIX files uploaded prior to June 2016 would have the download option greyed out. Apparently something to do with prior to this there was not the required meta data to enable the download of the PBIX file.

  2. Matt, are you sure about this? I just created a new dataset and report from an Tabular model using the Get Data from Analysis Services feature, but the Download Report feature was still greyed out. Or am I missing something…

    • Ahh. The nuances of the detail :-). I am referring to data models where you first upload a pbix and then make changes. I guess from your comment hat it doesn’t work in your scenario. I will make it clearer – thanks

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